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New 3D Printing Process Claimed To Be 25X Faster Than Current Technology 95

ErnieKey writes: Carbon3D, a startup based in Redwood City, CA. has just announced a new breakthrough 3D printing technology called Continuous Liquid Interface Production technology (CLIP). The process works by using oxygen as an inhibiting agent as a UV light rapidly cures a photosensitive resin (abstract). "Conventional 3D printers usually take several hours to print an object — because with most printing methods, they need to individually treat each new layer of material after it's put down so that the next layer can be put down on top of it. The new method is much faster because it works continually, instead of in layers, eliminating this step. As a result, it works in minutes, rather than hours — 25 to 100 times faster, its creators say, than conventional 3D printing." The company has just emerged from stealth mode and announced that they have raised a staggering $41 million to further develop the process and bring it to market.
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New 3D Printing Process Claimed To Be 25X Faster Than Current Technology

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  • by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @02:15AM (#49273057)

    Reinvented. With resins. Neat.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does your cheap plastic 3D printed shit fall apart EVEN FASTER?!!!

    • by Cederic ( 9623 )

      No, you ignorant pathetic clot of imbecilic silt, it's stronger because it isn't built of discrete layers.

  • Thats it? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I'll wait for a 48x or 52x speed

  • It's called a "punch press"

  • Specifically, how is this different from other projector based stereolithography printers such as the muve3d DLP (http://www.muve3d.net/press/)?

    • I think the only difference is their fancy oxygen-sensitive resin which lets them print significantly faster.
    • by Sertis ( 2789687 )
      It seems pretty straightforward, they carefully control the amount of oxygen at the bottom of the machine relative to the cross sectional area of the portion being printed so that the rate of polymerisation matches the the volume of plastic being drawn out of the unit. In a normal machine, after you cure a portion, you give it time to cure because throwing more energy at the resin will cause blooming and lack of resolution. This limits the amount cured chemically. Think of it as analagous to magnetic opti
    • Current systems print from the top. After each layer the object is lowered and resin flows over the top and a new layer is drawn. Sometimes the object has to be sunk and then brought back to the surface which slows production.

      In the new method the object is drawn on the bottom of the pool and as the object is drawn up out of the pool more resin flows in much faster than on the top.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm surprised at how many people are getting this wrong.

      Having a non-curing buffer layer at the bottom of the tank means the resin doesn't "stick" eliminating the need for the "peeling" step after every layer. This means rather than:
      cure -> lift to de-laminate (several mm) -> re-position with ~1um accuracy -> cure
      it's now:
      cure -> lift a few um -> cure.

      Eliminating the need to de-laminate every single layer from the base means you can essentially print as fast as you can sure the resin, combine

    • by moteyalpha ( 1228680 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @05:32AM (#49273535) Homepage Journal

      Specifically, how is this different from other projector based stereolithography printers such as the muve3d DLP (http://www.muve3d.net/press/)?

      You are right. I was unaware that projection with polymers were already a known method. We searched for 3D printers that do a complete layer at once some time ago when we developed our process and found none. We just began testing LCD panels and UV backlight. It is a sinle layer at a time, UV polymer isn't actually the fastest method I have discovered. It is possible to do it with much greater precision and higher speed using different methods. I put up a video a month ago about this (LCD) technique on my web site moteyways.com. I don't think this is very innovative and 41M$ is hardly staggering, but surprising for something with so little innovation. Structure is the least useful printable thing. We are working on printing a new type of CPU and the technology will be documented on the site. It is all to be open hardware. I think that a printer that can print circuits is the application that makes 3D printing a useful thing instead of a play-doh factory or glue gun. I realize it can be a tool for lost wax to metal, but many other tools are better suited to manufacturing structural items. I saw a piezoelectric lathe designed in Japan that can cut almost any material in a 5 axis system with astounding precision. Piezo systems can operate at Angstrom scale ( with huge forces ) and I can attest to that as it is the same method I use in my atomic force scope.

  • UV sensitivity (Score:4, Informative)

    by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @02:55AM (#49273143)

    The problem with UV sensitive resins is that UV light continues to affect the material even after it's hardened.If you keep it in sunlight it will start to degrade the material and get brittle.

    • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @03:05AM (#49273165)

      The risk of printing objects vulnerable to sunlight won't alarm anyone in this audience.

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      As far as I know, every organic material is sensitive to UV light, thus this is no new problem. Plastics degrade in the sun. All of them. This resin is no different.
      • by itzly ( 3699663 )

        Plastics degrade in the sun. All of them. This resin is no different.

        It's different because it's worse.

        • It's the same because the solution is paint for both cases.

          • by itzly ( 3699663 )

            Most plastic objects I see around my house are not painted (they have been coloured using dissolved pigments), but they'll still last for many years.

            UV cured plastics that require an extra coat of paint are not the same. The paint often flakes off, adds poorly controlled thickness, and adds extra cost.

          • Re:UV sensitivity (Score:4, Interesting)

            by cjameshuff ( 624879 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:24AM (#49274049) Homepage

            Paint is almost never the solution. Paint involves additional equipment and manufacturing steps, dealing with adhesion and coverage issues, loss of fine details, sensitivity to wear and scratching, and so on. Plastic parts are almost always unpainted, instead incorporating pigments or other stabilizing additives within the plastic itself. These can't be incorporated into 3D printer resin for obvious reasons.

          • sunscreen

      • by necro81 ( 917438 )
        I take it you've never worked with SLA resins and parts then. Mass-produced plastic parts have varying degradation rates in the sun. Many have UV stabilizers in them that provide them with substantial life (many years) even in direct sunshine. SLA parts, in my experience, have a useful life measured in weeks if allowed to be in the sun. Even sitting around in an office environment, SLA parts will degrade over months.
    • by marciot ( 598356 )

      The problem with UV sensitive resins is that UV light continues to affect the material even after it's hardened.If you keep it in sunlight it will start to degrade the material and get brittle.

      Just slather your printed parts with 100 SPF sunscreen -- it provides protection plus a bit of extra lubrication.

  • by Brulath ( 2765381 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @03:10AM (#49273179)

    It still prints in layers, it's just printing the entire layer simultaneously, using projected UV light, rather than running a flattened tube of material over the entire surface. It's a pretty cool way to print a small prototype-y model.

    I'm curious, would that approach be able to scale to multiple colours? The object is fully suspended within the liquid material whilst printing, so I'm guessing it would have to drain the pool, clean the excess fluid from the in-progress model, refill the pool, re-submerge the model, print a bit, and repeat. Which sounds slow and error-prone.

    Also curious, how many other substances are there that have similar properties (that is, they can transition from liquid to solid via radiation exposure).

    • Unless you can match the refractive index of cured and uncured resin, the optical calculations involved would be hell.

    • by pchimp ( 767649 )

      It still prints in layers, it's just printing the entire layer simultaneously, using projected UV light, rather than running a flattened tube of material over the entire surface.

      Not really*. It doesn't create layers in a step-wise fashion; there isn't a cure -> step -> cure -> step sequence. The piece is continuously moved, with curing taking place continuously over the region of the structure above the oxygen "dead zone", eliminating distinct layers. The resulting continuous structure lacks the weak interface regions generated by other 3D printing methods.

      *Of course, the 3D modeler must make slices of some finite thickness; but for this process these can be arbitra

  • This seems like laser printing for 3d printing.
  • Sped up videos. (Score:4, Informative)

    by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @04:24AM (#49273321)

    Did anyone else notice that the last two digits only counted up to 60? They sped the video up to make minutes look like seconds. Sure it is faster than additive printing but 6 minutes 35 seconds to make a small model is much slower than injection molding.

    • Always will be. 3D printing doesn't compete with injection molding. Different applications. Injection has a high setup cost and very low per-unit cost, while 3D printing has almost no setup cost and comparatively high per-unit cost.

      • Too bad the company isn't saying that.

        These two factors, Carbon3D says, could make its technology practical for mass-producing common products — like, say, a toothbrush that you buy in a store. In theory, it could combine the flexibility of 3D printing with the speed and strength of old-school injection molding — the current standard for mass-producing many types of products and parts, especially plastic ones.

        It appears they think that their technology will replace injection molding

        • by itzly ( 3699663 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:00AM (#49273681)

          It appears they think that their technology will replace injection molding

          Their technology will replace injection molding for runs smaller than N units, where N depends on numerous other requirements. What's different between this technique, and previous 3D printing techniques, is that N has gotten bigger.

        • This isn't for high production runs. This is for printing one offs, and prototyping.

          • technology practical for mass-producing common products

            That sounds like high production runs to me.

    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      How long did it take you to machine your mold? What was it's cost? What was the cost for the 2nd or 3rd mold when you had a design change and wanted to make another prototype?

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        How much did the printer cost compared to an injection molder? How much is the maintenance on a complicated printer compared to a simple injection molder?

        If 3D printing is so damn cheap, then use the printer to make the mold.

        • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

          For something for rapid prototyping, the printer is going to be a fraction of the cost to buy and to operate. The mold alone for an injection molder can easily be multi-thouands of dollars and that's for a relatively simple mold.

          I can't comment on this printer but I've used other 3D and SLA printers. Maintenance consists occasionally replacing a build plate or reservoir if it should become damaged. Maybe a bit of water or cleaning solution and a rag to wipe it down, and a bit of lubricant for moving parts.

          • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

            Yes, for prototyping printing makes sense. However, the article talks about this printer replacing injection molding (the example given was for toothbrushes). I am pretty sure nobody today is injection molding a prototype toothbrush, they probably use regular old milling for that. Therefore, the only way the comment makes sense is if they plan on replacing injection molding with printing in production.

            • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

              No, it doesn't say it will replace injection molding. It says it combines it:

              In theory, it could combine the flexibility of 3D printing with the speed and strength of old-school injection molding

              FDM printing is very flexible since molds don't have to be made, but quite slow in the actual production due to slow speeds and layer by layer construction makes them not as strong. Injection molding is very inflexible due to molds having to be made, but once they are made, very fast in production and strong.

              What th

              • No, it doesn't say it will replace injection molding. It says it combines it:

                Nice selective quoting. You forgot the first sentence of the paragraph;

                These two factors, Carbon3D says, could make its technology practical for mass-producing common products — like, say, a toothbrush you buy in a store.

                That kaes it seem they want to replace injection molding.

                We needed about 250 of them. Even if it took a little longer and the cost was 10 more, we'd still be cheaper off with this type of a manufacturing technique.

                Producing 250 is not mass production. You would need to do in the thousands per run to be mass production.

  • name (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @06:56AM (#49273917)

    I bet at first they wanted to call it Continuous Liquid Interface Technology (CLIT)

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Tuesday March 17, 2015 @07:29AM (#49274073)

    The detail on the electron micrographs at the bottom is really good.

    That kind of level of detail fundamentally changes not just how fast you can print (which is just a matter of time), but what you can do with it. Imagine suspeding catalyst particles in the resin and printing fluid channels with incredibly large surface areas. Or other things that require lots of detail.

    Changing WHAT you can do is more interesting than how fast you can do it.

  • The build envelope looks tiny. Let me know when I can make large custom electronics enclosures. And what about reliability and durability of the results? When these things can consistently survive the all-corners, all-edges, all-sides drop test, then I'll be impressed.

  • The ISS already has a 3D printer right now, which got me thinking, this technology requires gravity, so it won't work in space until we learn to properly generate artificial gravity in space.

    • You'd only need a centrifuge, and only one providing enough "gravity" to confine a shallow puddle of liquid, which doesn't take much. The powder fusion approaches are better suited for the stuff you'd need to print in space, though...just keep that powder out of your life support filters. (not to mention your lungs)

  • There are 3d printer systems that cure the whole surface at once called the B9 creator. They use a DLP type projector. So that is not what is new. What is new is that that this system does not require a peel operation. In the B9creator the peel is done by sliding the platform off the newly curred part. In the Form1 the tank is peeled by pulling one side away like opening a hinged door. In this new system no peel the cured material is does not stick to the tank because of the O2 rich zone near the bottom of

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